Search This Blog

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Safe Words are for Sissies.


"Indigo...Indigo...INDIGO!" - she finally yelled before I remembered what the hell she meant. When I finally did, I stopped what I was doing and checked her.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, but, you made a mess."

"It was my intention."

"Well, now we need a broom."

"I'm sure we can find one." - time hung, upside-down, suspended.

One glance between her knees and it was obvious - we were going to need a bigger tool.

At least 80% of the toner bottle had spurted all over.

Turning to the six or so voyeurs, I said, "I'm glad this happened, now we can show you how easy our toner is to vacuum up..."

So continued the greatest copier training session in history - IKON rep, PBM and a willing audience of nurses and accounting clerks. One for the book...*

Fifty Minutes Before -

This was our first time together in front of others and just before starting, she jokingly mentioned, "We should have a safe word. Something that tells the other person to switch hands or hold off."

"Okay, let's make it 'indigo'." was my glib, off-handed response. I forgot all about it, until her climatic outburst jerked me from my fugue.

Safe Word - "a word serving as a prearranged and unambiguous signal to end an activity..."
The Past 24 Months

The last two years lack in "mps" excitement, passion and risk. No new ideas or technology from our manufacturers - ink in a bag is still ink. Aged programs remain in place - can we make mps even more confusing? Everybody has a cousin in the Mps business - no really. And the idea of paper to digital drips with denial.

No risk, no edges, no transformations, no need for safe words.

Perhaps shifting your business out of copiers and into display panels or integrating medical devices into your value proposition is the way. But how painful is that?

Establishing a safe-word recognizes boundaries. Some say the real way to know you're alive is to feel a bit of pain - get painful. Go there. Rub up against it.

This isn't a 'stretch goal' this is a cliff. Instead of 'adjacent markets', get into hoverboards, for example. That session would be painfully deserved of a safe-word, right?

Forget that terribly written, over popular, shallow, slow-motion-rape tome, "50 Shades of Spray" and consider a managed print services safe word - heck, make it a business safe word - it doesn't need to be mps only. Either way, light the candles, warm up the wax and get a safe-word.

Imagine the most painful change possible. Feel it. Label it. Then get as close as you can to it.

One thing: remain dubious of WHATEVER your OEM brings to the table. They seduce and dominate for more shelf-space - now more than every, devices are shackles.

One More thing: Seek advice from those OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY. Innovation has run its course in the world of toner, ink and paper. There is nothing left. Industry pundits telling you how to optimize your service department, 'align' your incongruent backroom operations or change your value proposition are part of the problem and the past because,

You already know, what you need to know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Kids in #Oconomowoc: There are no such things as SEO Experts.



They were celebrating something...it was unclear and it was late.

Young Turks are all full of passion, possibilities, and a zest for "the new way of everything".  Kids of the internet, comfortable in that soft pool of warm ignorance - seven or eight, twenty-somethings out drinking; nowhere to go but up.

You remember those times, don't you? Think "The Breakfast Club" grows into "St. Elmo's Fire" on the way to "The Big Chill". I was smack-dab in the middle of Elmo's Fire expecting Rob to start blaring away on the Sax.

In some capacity, a few of these folks are builders of websites and experts in the way of SEO. They know all there is to know about, well, everything online - branding, selling, travel, food, publishing, online life, whiskey, tinder, and the ways of the world.

Predictably, as I queried deeper,  their conversation rolled defensively.  I admired their passion but they had no idea.


I told them "there are no such things as SEO experts but Curling is a sport..." - 

You would have thought I kicked a beehive and they never heard of curling.

The SEO expert in the crowd took exception, of course.  I mentioned the first four returns on every search are bought and paid for and the algorithmic changes google inflicts benefit only google.

Calmer winds prevailed.  He understood.

I said, "eyeballs do not equate to sales" -

Shock!

"Attention is the new currency," one yelled.

"That's like paying for your internet by staring at the bill," I replied.  They didn't get it...until they did.

When web/media experts spew this line, it seems more like a rationalization.

I postulated "the passing of brands" -

It's happening.  Labels, brands, silos, demographics, and vertical industries are all combining into one, huge horizontal, market.  The Blob.  I was hitting nerves.

We ranted to each other, it was a group rant.  They thought I was unhinged, opinionated, old, and out of the know.  Aghast, in unison, they chimed, "What's your BRAND."  One might have asked if I still had my AoL email account, I don't remember.

Then they googled me.

Laughing,

"Death of the Copier?!... a book?! Really?" -  the branding expert quipped.
"...it used to mean something else, now it means the death of those who copy...", my reply.

"Fifty Shades of Managed Print Services! What the heck is managed print services?" - the fresh from South Africa, website builder spouted.
"...nothing.  It is dead...", my eyes are hurting by now, rolling on an infinite loop.

"People still print?!"
"No," I said.

And that's when it happened.  The sparks and fury of embroiled discourse cooled. I sat there, sipping on Jack, watching them, digits a blur, reading.

Silent.

To their credit, in less than 7 minutes, they had my LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and blog up and running. The giggles subsided as all they scanned and read - blogs, articles, bio's, on and on...they had it all - my online roots run deep.

In a few moments, they knew more about me than most.  Of course, all was forgotten seconds after leaving the bar - the new currency has a short span.


We are quick to label those who know a bit more than us, on any specific subject, as experts.  I know from the inside.  Often, expert recommendations are academic - rarely tested in the field. This is what we've done to an entire generation.

We bestow the mantel of "they know more than we" just because they grew up on their thumbs and we built tree forts.

Somehow, maturing in a world that has never been without the internet makes people 'smarter'.  How can this be true?

"We shouldn't vault them as more enlightened, we should feel sad that we haven't pointed out the constellations ."

The Millennials don't know crap about crap and that's okay - how many of you knew everything when you were in your 20s?  How many of us thought we did?

But for one generation to regard the up as coming more relevant is a disservice to the younger; we are putting more pressure on them simply by referring to them as Millennials/Unique.

Why?

The lessons here are simple and complex -
  1. The world of the web is driven by attention; nothing more than a popularity contest.
  2. Some marketers mix B2C and B2B concepts.  True, the convergence is occurring, but to blanket, an entire ecosystem with one strategy is a fool's errand.
  3. The "Hippies", "Gen X, Y", etc.  Are simply MARKETING LABELS.  Segmentation.  That is all.  Unlike generation gaps of the past based on solid walls of years and societal separation,  technology permeates beyond the boundaries of age - the great equalizer.
Like the people from Kalamazoo, who I met in an Irish pub in Oconomowoc, Wi., you and I have journeyed the same path.  Fortunately, we had the stars to guide us - they use Google maps.

We shouldn't vault them as more enlightened, we should feel sad that we haven't shared the constellations with them.

For me, the affirmation was stellar - we are all the same.

Oh to be young again.

I wish I didn't know now, what I didn't know then...



Click to email me.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Never Go Out of Style: Managed print Services Inside a VAR

"You come and pick me up, no headlights
A long drive,
Could end in burning flames or paradise..." - T. Swift 
Mps Practice Managers, salespeople, BDMs, specialists, consultants, experts, evangelists, directors, principals, planning managers, and vice-presidents - I got a question for you:

If you had the chance to build an MPS practice, today, from scratch, inside a VAR,  how would you do it?

Where would you start?  Building a team? Compensation plans?  Assessment tools and DCAs?

What's your visionary statement?  Would you put together another, two-dimensional, old-school, top-down, business plan?  Really?

What about legacy accounting systems, dispatch, vendor relationships, existing BDM mentality, corporate philosophy/culture,  probes, NOC, SLAs, BDR, MS, and customer transformation off paper?  Can you lead or will past mistakes haunt you like the phantoms of Macbeth?

Inside this turbulence,  I'm sure some ask,

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Building an Managed print Services Practice: LA to Oconomowoc #MPS #copiers


By David Cameron; CEO, Cameron Consulting Group, March 27th, 2012

Greg Walters is a well-known blogger, rebel, truth-seeker, and now a consultant in the managed services field for print and IT.

This article focuses on his leadership and—at times—exasperating experiences in building an MPS practice inside a large West Coast VAR. Adding managed print services (MPS) was an uneasy fit that didn’t demonstrate its value until after Walters took over. As the MPS practice grew more than $1 million, the plan shifted and the practice was folded into the much larger managed services group to leverage common processes and resources. It is an open question whether the MPS practice will retain its edgy personality and strong growth rate as it goes mainstream as part of the VAR services portfolio.

Greg Walters took over the immature managed print services practice at SIGMAnet (the VAR) in January 2010. It was a very chaotic period when the business was dealing with the collapse of the financial giants and the loss of two key customers, Countrywide and IndyMac. This forced a major restructuring of the business and loss of personnel. Walters felt lucky to still have a job when SIGMAnet’s owner gave him the ultimatum “to either show me how this practice can make money in the next 30 days or shut it down.” The gauntlet had been laid down.

Walters joined SIGMAnet from IKON in 2007 as an MPS specialist and to support the new HP Edgeline product line. The new MPS practice experienced start-up problems and was slow at ramping up revenue for the first several years. After personnel cuts, by early 2010 Walters was the only member left in the MPS practice. This quickly became a very personal challenge.

It was an unexpected opportunity, but Walters was ready for it. He instinctively knew what to do based on his experience and training. He got cash flow moving, reset customer expectations, and began to work furiously to restart the MPS practice. It was 30 days of insane activity.

He got the job done and put the MPS practice on a positive path, but the process left a trail of broken glass. With the business in jeopardy, he did what he felt was necessary to improve sales and cash flow. When the warehouse was holding up a large shipment ($150,000 of products and consumables) he aggressively escalated the issue and forced the products to be released. This upset the executive team.

The VAR side of the business didn’t understand MPS and wasn’t sure what to make of this upstart practice leader.

One brilliant move was to educate the owner about the significant financial benefits of MPS. It boiled down to comparing the following:
  1. toner sales over time to an account at a gross profit (GP) of 8-10 percent; and
  2. lower recurring revenue at a GP greater than 40 percent for an MPS contract.
The difference in profit to the bottom line was astounding. This, combined with a demonstrated improvement in cash flow over several months, convinced the owner that this business was worthy of attention.

A key obstacle to restarting MPS sales was overcoming the internal resistance of the sales team—the business development managers (BDMs). The previous MPS sales professionals had old-school copier backgrounds that didn’t fit well in a relationship-based, consultative sales environment. “They didn’t listen, and pushed product,” says Walters, and this greatly irritated customers. The MPS group had been kicked off of more than one account because of these tactics, and the BDMs saw its members as a liability and wanted little to do with them. It took special care and handling by Walters to convince the BDMs that the new MPS team was different and could have a positive impact on the customer base. He worked one-on-one with the top sales leaders to turn around their thinking.

Over time, Walters proved that he had the capability to drive the business forward. He rebuilt customer relationships, drove billings, and delivered results that demonstrated the value of MPS to the business. The owner developed confidence in this previously unproven practice and personally introduced Walters to the rest of the executive team. The greater challenge of getting the MPS practice accepted as an equal part of the VAR business was yet to play out.

MPS RESULTS

The MPS practice, although profitable for the first time in 2010, was a small part of the VAR’s business. Annual revenue had more than doubled, and page volume per device was relatively high, at more than 2,900 pages per month. The Edgelines pumped out a lot of volume. The practice had its own P&L because of its unusual business model, which captured the growth and profitability results.

The strong revenue growth, shown in Figure 1, is remarkable and was driven by Walters’ sales leadership. MPS sales were built on net new customers who did not have a prior relationship with the VAR. The five-year growth pattern is not unusual and is similar to that of other large VARs, like Compugen, which also had a long latency period prior to substantial growth. In this case, it took a dramatic change in leadership to realize the potential business impact of MPS.

The steep sales growth continued in 2011. The additional volume was partly a result of cross-selling MPS into existing VAR accounts. MPS success inside the VAR was not defined so much by the strong revenue growth, but rather by the exceptional profitability that added a double-digit net margin to the bottom line.

The exceptional profitability of MPS did contribute to a surprising level of gross profit (GP).

This undoubtedly caught management’s attention. Infrastructure sales also contributed to the bottom line through marketing development funds and back-end rebates. The impact of MPS on the business was especially important when considering long-term trends of shrinking equipment margins.

The growing financial impact of MPS on the VAR’s business drove the need for integration of the print services business. However, MPS presented significant challenges to the convergence of processes and systems because of the unique business model, sales approach, and IT management tools it uses to track and report business results.

S4 CONVERGENCE

Photizo Group first discussed the notion of MPS/managed IT services convergence in 2010. The MPS adoption model was changed to include Stage 4 (S4) convergence.

This model reflected how the market was already beginning to change. The VAR’s goals in 2011 were to integrate MPS with the much larger managed services practice group that included an NOC system-monitoring and reporting service, help desk, unified communications, staff augmentation, mobility, and MPS. The objective of the model is to drive internal efficiencies by leveraging common processes and resources.

Common Processes and Resources

Sales: Common services talk track by BDMs, part of services portfolio, supported by specialists for each practice area, including MPS. The downside is that there are no MPS-specific commission goals or gates and there is currently no MPS specialist.

NOC: Common process for remote network monitoring and management, expanded to include PrintSolv™ screen for printer/copier issues and alerts.

Dispatch: Common service for directing service technician activity for PCs and printers; most accounts’ repairs for PCs and workstations are optional, whereas printer issues involve on-site technician activity; loss of one MPS trained person.

Help desk: Common process to handle end-user issues, depending on account SLAs and contract. Conduct low-level triage and, if needed, engage service.

Service: Printer technicians are cross-trained for on-site PC/network diagnosis and inspection; however, the converse is not true.

Back-office systems: Contracts and billing are still separate for now.

There is currently no customer satisfaction measurement or process in place.

The advantage of an integrated approach (i.e., common processes and shared resources) is higher technician utilization, staff consolidation, and related cost improvements. More subtly, the objective of such an approach is to provide the customer with a more efficient service response with fewer handoffs, which results in easier, faster, more complete service across the organization. Also, the VAR has reduced the chance for competitors to directly engage with the customer for printer management.

The disadvantages of this approach include pressure on the VAR to retain trained and qualified printer staff and technicians to assure competent delivery of services. The differences between the business model and sales approach also have to be thoroughly understood across the management team. This can result in a loss of customer satisfaction for a large account where printer management is a small part.

SUMMARY

Walters deserves much credit for creating a viable and highly profitable MPS practice inside a large VAR. This practice has developed largely in isolation from the rest of the VAR’s business because management has been hesitant to recognize the value MPS has brought to its customers and to the business. This is the environment that Walters thrived in while driving a small team to deliver strong revenue growth and excellent customer service. It is an amazing turnaround from the chaotic period of business restructuring when MPS was on the ropes.

The VAR has begun integrating MPS with the rest of its services portfolio. This includes a common sales talk track, remote monitoring through the NOC, and other common processes and shared resources. However, the question remains open regarding how far to go. There are still no sales goals or gates for driving MPS, which is different from all other services.

Although the S4 convergence is largely complete, it is too early to call it a success. Too many parts are in motion. The value of the MPS practice to the business must be decided, and if it is to be sustained it must be given a full place at the table in terms of sales goals, objectives, and the resources to support it fully.

Build a SuperTeam for Managed Print Services - 2013

First posted, 2013, here.

I’ve spoken to many successful managed print services providers over the past few months who have said that commitment is the key to success in MPS.

As a foundational step, I agree.

Yet to fully achieve that, organizations need a team of MPS specialists, which may either be created outright or grown organically out of necessity. Today, I outline six basic players in a successful MPS SuperTeam:

“The Hub” – This person is all-knowing, all-seeing. She understands vendor relations, sales, dispatch, warranty, invoicing, meter reads, monitoring, technicians—and can manage them all. She handles customers, runs the books and knows CRM inside and out. She works within the rules, but is not afraid to stretch them.

“The Face” – This is the internal MPS evangelist. A true believer, he sees the value of MPS in his world and in the customers’ realm. He typically does not “throw all the services against the wall” in an effort to see what sticks. He can carry an MPS conversation almost up to business process outsourcing and knows how to gracefully bring in The Knight.

“The Knight” – This team member knows more about MPS than anyone else. He understands the corporate MPS vision because he helped create it and continues to support it. The Knight could sell MPS on his own and one day just might. But he is a team player and knows his position on the field. When the practice makes money, presents a 48 percent GP/19 percent in Net Income, he credits everyone else. When the practice burns a slow, terrible, painful death he alone takes responsibility and the long walk.

“The Master Mechanic” – The ultimate technician; a tech’s tech. He knows how to handle EVERYTHING and keep the promises made by The Face. Experienced, tested and seasoned, this person is customer-centric, not afraid to learn the new technology and can dissect an old Konica blindfolded. The “Master Mechanic” can show a rookie how to install fusers or remove misfeeds. He is the rare technician. We all know one.

“The Majordomo” – This person is part of executive management and an MPS believer. He understands the impact of MPS on the entire organization in all areas: gross profit, service revenue and customer retention. This person will sell internally and run interference when ownership wants to “improve” the MPS process or assimilate the practice into the “bigger picture.” He’s a straight shooter who knows what battles to fight and how to address the King.

“The King” – This is the one person who can defy logic. It is his vision that “your” practice supports. If he feels MPS no longer fits the vision, you’re out. No matter the margin, market, or how much blood you’ve put in, it is his decision. He can say “yes” or “no” all on his own.

In my opinion, these are the primary positions. You will certainly have more than one tech, and you will engage a team of salespeople; possibly midlevel management, department heads and fellow practice managers. Your team is the core of the practice.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Managed print services in 2017: PSO is the New Mps


"Pro-actively optimize devices and processes associated with presenting information in the form of documents, regardless of medium." - GRW
If you understand the above definition, you quickly see the traditional MPS definition as stunted, restrictive.

I submit to you, the active MPS practitioner, a vision, philosophy, strategy and tactic that will expand your horizon beyond toner and service.  Print Server Optimization(PSO).

Stated simply, PSO delves into:
  • End user data - you remember them, right?
  • Less network traffic - compression, encryption and the like...
  • Mobile print - like anyone really prints reams from their phone/tablet/LT
  • Secure/pull/follow you print - 'nuf said
  • Optimized print driver management - look into this...
  • Fewer print servers - NO NOT A UNIVERSAL PRINT DRIVER
  • Easy to execute, end-user installations - with maps n stuff that show what printers are available
  • and more...
I double-dog-dare you...I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU...to call your best IT contact(you have one of those, right?) and ask him how he feels about managing print servers.

Go ahead, ask.  Ask him what happens when a print server blinks out.  Ask him how long it takes to manage all the print drivers on his network and if the automatic configuration of printers would be a good thing.

Here's a delicious suggestion, find a prospect with a print policy designed by your competitor(you have one of those, right?) and ask him why they didn't include print server optimization.

Go ahead. Ask.

I've gotten behind a few programs in the last seven years or so, this one - the reduction of print servers - I see as the next big wave to hit not just our niche, but the entire technology landscape.  Why not get into the movement today and leverage the talk track into a deeper IT relationship?

Would you like to know more? greg@grwalters.com

This is a wave we can celebrate.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

ITEX 2015: Copierville is a Fireball



"Everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back" - BS
"Mr. Worldwide to infinity
You know the roof on fire..." - Pit
This year's ITEX show was one of the more interesting versions.   Fewer attendees?  I don't know the numbers, but maybe.

Was business conducted?  Yes.  Was the location right?  Yes.  Did the sessions stir thought and impart ideas? Yes.

Was it obvious that Managed print services as an offering, is waning. Yup.

This time around, I was fortunate to help the good people at ITEX  document the show through video.  If you were there, you probably some guy walking around with a mic and a video guys in tow - asking all the 'tough' questions.

I talked with many and worked the floor an entire day - booth to booth, person to person - and in those travels, I was able to glean some interesting thoughts and hear directly how some in the industry feel the niche is transforming.


Change is constant, here are some of my observations
  1. Less toner focus but the big guys are marketing.
  2. IT services providers are solid with an entire row dedicated to managed services
  3. New Hardware announcements and products were on parade but it just doesn't matter and that's a good thing.  Consumers of devices care less about logo's and ink versus toner than we.  
Conclusion:

The ubiquity of Managed print services is about as exciting as wallpaper.

If you're truly ready to venture out into the IT realm, Mps is your gateway. Connectivity, conversations with IT departments and relieving them of a headache issue, are all part and parcel of a visionary Mps.

Companies like PrintFleet(Artificial Intelligence), Print Audit(Per Seat billing), MWAi(real, copier based accounting systems) and AVG(flexible, proven, managed services offering) offers opportunities beyond the pubescent toner and machine management.

There are dealers making the visionary decisions and moving beyond OEM, MPS, and quotas
"We love the show, this is our second time and we are definitely coming back next year..."
Every show attracts criticism - it is a tradition. This year, the negative observations say less about show content, venue and PowerHours and more about the niche.  Our relatively small industry is contracting not expanding - the most revered and longest running conference(Itex) is reflecting these changes, not projecting: another Sign.

Itex will be back next year at the same venue, but will copiers survive beyond 2016? Sure, of course.  At this very moment, somebody, somewhere is manufacturing and selling buggy whips.




Monday, March 16, 2015

ITEX 2015: "Mount Gay"



The best conversations occur after the show, around a bar, cold, adult beverage in hand.  This year, the drink of choice, pour moi, was the historic Mojito.

The best Mojito's were made with Mount Gay rum - and yes, when ordering, "Mount Gay" should be said with gusto.  Mucho Gusto, my friend.
"I may not always drink rum, but when I do, its Mount Gay..." - B.R.
What copier-goodness conversations flowed as we climbed Mount Gay?

Plenty.

Print servers -
I've been ringing this bell for a while now:  Mps should include all the devices and process involved with moving information within and between organizations regardless of medium.

Print servers have long been the bane of many IT Directors - so why don't we help them control, managed and optimize their print server fleet?

I know a great company that has a very lucrative dealer program.  Contact me and I will get you connected.

Decreasing toner sales, cores and companies -  Dive a million dumpsters and you'll surface empty handed.  Cores are hard to find.  Are you surprised or simply choosing to ignore another sign?

True to every other evaporating industry, consolidation of the largest players foretell the end. That's what we talked about - the big toner remans getting together, colliding cultures, marketing talk tracks and managed print services programs.  Big Bang.

The passing of an niche - 
Around the bar, we all agreed that managed print services as it was and as it once was to be, is dead. The reasons are too many but paramount in its demise are the OEMs and their disingenuous talk tracks about savings and optimization.

We all see customers reducing the number of devices, both A3 and A4, as more optimize 'in-house' without manufactures.

As Itex 2015 fades in the rearview, I think the lesson taken home is more about smaller, focused, dealerships than big, broad, hardware mass marketing.

To be celebrated, not feared.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Eight Characteristics of a Growing Managed Print Services Practice


2015

After five years of managed print services, one would imagine a standard set of MPS rules would rise out of the fog.  And yet there is still debate over what exactly MPS stands for — not the acronym, but the vision and real value of managed print services.

I remember the great device-to-technician-ratio discussion of 2008.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Stealth Sale: Print Server Elimination. Why don't you understand?



Managed print services was suppose to be about helping clients reduce the number devices and printed documents, saving them "30%".

Although clients are indeed reducing their numbers, it's had little to do with our hardware quotas; their reducing all by themselves.

  1. Eliminate headache and costs - ask your IT how much time they spend managing print servers.  I dare you.  I can tell you, they hate it.
  2. Acquire end-user, print behavior patterns - DCA's collect machine data, server elimination software organically collects user data.  Figure it out.
  3. Raise the level of conversation - stop talking about toner, but if you must discuss hardware, why not discuss print servers.
Like 'plastics' in the 50's and 60's, print server elimination is the next big thing. But like our stealth bomber few see it coming.

Can you?  Need help?  Reach out to me.

The B2 flying towards the Rose Bowl, 2015



  Click to email me.


If I Had a Heart: Drop the "Print" from Managed print services. The World According to Greg


March 2015 

Heartbreak and glory - the times are changing universally. One turn in my personal metamorphosis is stepping down as President of the Managed Print Services Association.

My involvement with the MPSA started at the very beginning, back when a room full of folks voted to form the association at  Photizo 1.  I am honored to have served and proud of all the accomplishments we've achieved - it has been a great time.

Congratulations to the new Managed Print Services Associations executive board:
President: Kevin DeYoung, Qualpath - owner, managed print services visionary, leader
Vice President: Doug Bies, Canon USA - new, passionate, cutting edge philosophy
Secretary: Sarah Henderson, West Point Products/Clover Technologies - stalwart, foundational, dedicated
Treasurer: Lou Stricklin, Muratec America - solid, fresh, tactician
Today, as I exit the Oval Office,  relegated to a Board of Director, I am free from the yoke of compliance, broken are the shackles of other's stunted and spun opinion, open to express my opinions based on observed behavior, not Survey Monkey or the corporate drawer statement.

I am unencumbered by concerns about how a potential sponsor or customer might feel. 

Free to ignore conversations geared around the ROI of donating $10,000.00 for a corporate membership.  

We were not lying when we said your ROI is measured by your contribution to the industry, not shelf space, or tossing our membership into your sales funnel.

The shackles of self-censorship have fallen away...

UNLEASHED...

My managed print services observations or better yet:

The World According to Greg

Managed print services is Dead and the OEMs killed it -

That's what I said.  

It was called 'managed print services' not 'managing printers & service'.  Leveraging the 'services' model to increase MIF is disingenuous and prospects see right through the scam.

Customers do not care -

Speaking of customers, they don't give a rip about the toner remanufacturing process.  They don't care about the seven steps of xerography, and their eyes gloss when you speak of ink vs. toner; color vs. B/W, or mobile print.  Stop doing that.

Find something else to talk about - say business-oriented, like employee morale, the impact of BYOD, and managing print servers.

My advice to the incoming MPSA Executive Board - 
  1. Change the definition of managed print services and the direction of the MPSA.  Move away from toner, printer, and hardware - to a "Managed Services Association".  Expand the horizons, and blow the minds of millions.
  2. Do not fall victim to the procedure, meeting paralysis, Roberts Rules of Order planning on how to do something without ever doing anything.
  3. Once a member proclaims, "...that's not the way I operate..." they've volunteered.  The association, like our industry, is at a crossroads.  Like times in the past, both glory and ruination await.
Ideas are bulletproof -

Not only is the world on a path to less paper, but the new world will be populated with self-healing devices - no need for as many service technicians.

Managing services for your clients is the future.  This core idea is unflappable in a turbulent sea of rhetoric, incorrect research, and marketing talk.

The world of MPS, like life,  holds promise and doom - fortune, glory, and tragedy.  False promises? Yes.  Self-interest? Of course.

When haven't we experienced both?

To make a move, a real move, we've got to take that leap of faith...again and again, and again.  Heartbreak, then Glory.  Glory, then heartbreak.

Always.  All ways.



Click to email me.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Managed Print Services? Never heard of it. I sell machines and disaster recovery..."


pariah |pəˈrīə|
noun
1 an outcast: they were treated as social pariahs.
2 historical a member of a low caste in southern India.
It wasn't long ago, the darling of the dance, managed print services, was filled with wonder and promise. Like Carrie's senior prom, that bucket of toner came crashing down spoiling mood and prom dress alike.

Yes, it is true - managed print services has become the industry pariah - oh how the mighty have fallen. Supplanted by help desk, email, and disaster recovery the lowly printer has left the stage.

Managed print services has ended up meaning little more than service and toner delivery leveraged to lock customers in, expand shelf space and drop more machines in field. But that wasn't what MPS should have been.

It had the potential for so, so much more but we couldn't handle it.  True mps is huge, expansive and all inclusive; a concept including printers and wireless routers, scanning, digital workflow, and the paperless life.

Too Big for Most People's Mind -

They invited managed print to the prom, put her on stage. Then, in a pre-planned scheme, they attempted to shame and belittle.  Unlike Carrie's story, the devious ones here understood the overwhelming power of a new business model.  Instead of simply embarrassing the concept, the sought to destroy it.  They've succeeded.

Self-centered.

"...And the raven was called sin..."

The prom is over.  But there is always another dance, another Carrie.

Let's try something that isn't tied to OEM hardware. Indeed, let's start proposing and selling ideas that ROMOVE hardware from the equation(one possibility derived from mps). The scary truth is your prospects and customers are doing it right now, with or without you.

Would you like to learn more about how your business could move away from OEM driven quotas?

Reach out to me.

Contact Me

Greg Walters, Incorporated
greg@grwalters.com
262.370.4193